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In October 2008, a would-be plumber named Joe asked then-candidate Barack Obama what would happen if, hypothetically, Joe were to become employed making nearly $300,000 a year.  Then candidate Obama said that as a member of the top 5% of income earners, that Joe's taxes would go up.  Candidate Obama said the plan was to "spread the wealth around."

Since then, that quote has been used repeatedly to prove that Obama is a Marxist, Socialist Communist who is hellbent on "confiscating wealth."

I discovered a simple and elegant retort to the accusation of "confiscating wealth."

Whenever someone brings up the "spread the wealth around" quote, I turn the tables on the speaker.

I ask, what if Barack Obama had said the exact opposite of what he did?  What if Barack Obama had said

"Well, Joe, taxes are for the little people, so under my plan when your income approaches the $1 Million dollar a year mark, your tax burden becomes gradually reduced letting you keep more of your money.  To do this, of course, we'll have to raise taxes on the poor and reduce their access to Medicare and Social Security.  This is how, under my plan, wealth would funnel upward and become concentrated at the top."

What then? Would his detractors stand up and cheer a quote like that?  Why not?

It blows my mind that the people who consistently go to bat for tax breaks for millionaires are the people who will bear the burden of the tax inequity.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." - Originally said by someone who can do neither.

    by bondibox on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 09:20:16 AM PDT

  •  If (0+ / 0-)

    what a person considers 'wealth' has nothing to do with money, or simply isn't money, then it'a a very big problem.

    Conflating emotions with economics is a sure lose.

  •  Not confiscating wealth, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    reclaiming it.  Where did the money come from that makes the wealthy so wealthy?

    It comes from everyone who pays higher prices for what they buy.  It comes from everyone who works for lower wages than the value they contribute.  It comes from everyone who is defrauded by banks and other predatory businesses.  It comes from everyone whose tax dollars go to pay bribes and kickbacks to politicians' corporate backers.

    Very few people get wealthy without taking money from other people.

    “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

    by ahumbleopinion on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 09:52:48 AM PDT

    •  Silly Comment... (0+ / 0-)
      Very few people get wealthy without taking money from other people

      Even poor people get their money from "other people".  Because money doesn't grow on trees, it is in someone else's wallet.

      You appear to be suggesting that every business should be a "non-profit" business and if they make a profit they are taking advantage of a customer, employee, or vendor.  I don't agree with that premise.

      •  There is a difference between the fair profit (0+ / 0-)

        that a business earns from lawful, responsible business practices and the predatory profit that businesses earn by exploiting their workers, gouging their customers, and destroying our environment.  

        In my opinion, the relentless pressure from Wall Street for ever increasing profits and the unbridled greed of corporate executives has pushed too many business into the predatory profit model vs the sustainable profit model.

        “when Democrats don’t vote, Democrats don’t win.” Alan Grayson

        by ahumbleopinion on Sun Sep 25, 2011 at 03:08:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh. It's not one extreme or the other. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    in the Trees, VClib

    It's not either some punitive tax rate on those who are successful (household AGI of $250,000 and up) or no taxes on that group.  

    That group already pays a large share of the federal income taxes -- for the most part, these households are 2 working professional couples and have all of their income through earned income.  The Buffet Rule doesn't apply to them.  The question is what is a "fair" amount of taxation on earned income for these people to pay.  

    Really, I understand how this group -- who, for the most part, have worked for decades to get where they are each making $150,000 or so -- were offended by Obama's suggestion that they need to be taxed more so he could "spread [their] wealth around."  It was an awkward thing to say, and frankly a lot of my friends -- who are middle-aged, working professional couples, who got post graduate degrees and then worked 50 hour plus weeks for decades to get where they are -- were offended that Obama's comment indicated that he wanted to "spread their wealth" around. There IS  a way to appeal to this group.  They understand the notion of progressive taxation, and understand the need for progressive taxation.  But the memes that work on this site --lumping them in with Warren Buffet, or talking about how they got  there only because they are "lucky," or talking about the purpose of taxation being to "spread their wealth around" -- isn't the way to do it.  

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